The Atlanta Falcons went to the west coast to test the turf of the San Francisco 49ers. Broadcast on Fox, commentary was provided by Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston. The first quarter began with a Falcons possession that went nowhere and a 49ers possession that led to a deflected ball that the Falcons recovered (thanks to cornerback Brian Williams). A few plays later, Falcons running back Michael Turner broke the goal line. On their next possession, wide receiver Roddy White made a TD catch. 49ers running back Glen Coffee eventually made a TD for his team. Atlanta 14 and San Francisco 7.
The second quarter started with a 49ers field goal. Atlanta 14 and San Francisco 10. 49ers head coach Mike Singletary had used up all three of his team’s time-outs by that point. Falcons head coach Mike Smith challenged the ruling that San Francisco had recovered a fumbled ball to running back Jerious Norwood. Mike Smith didn’t win the challenge. A ninety-yard Roddy White TD run to the end zone came shortly thereafter (White did a somersault after broke the plane and was tagged with an unsportsman like conduct penalty). The Falcons mirrored their earlier fumble by recovering a 49ers loose ball. Against boos from the crowd, the birds went out on offense, and a couple plays later, Michael Turner made another TD. Lather, rinse, and repeat with seventy seconds left in the first half. Atlanta 35 and San Francisco 10. It’s a franchise record for the Falcons — thirty-five points in the first half.
The 49ers appeared to come into the the third quarter with just a spritz more momentum. Quarterback Shaun Hill didn’t complete all of his passes, nonetheless I observed a more tangible presence amongst the 49ers offense (as if they finally believed they were actually in the game). Kicker Joe Nedney’s forty-eight field goal attempt was no good. Michael Turner never got a good grip on the ball from Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. On the next play, Matt Ryan threw an interception into the embrace of 49ers defensive back Dre’ Bly…only to be tackled by Roddy White. The ball escaped from Bly’s left hand and Falcons center Todd McClure jumped on it (after Ryan tried but couldn’t stick the landing). Falcons kicker Jason Elam’s forty yard FG attempt was good. Atlanta 38 and San Francisco 10.
The “umph” that I had noticed in the beginning of the third quarter was gone by the end of it. Matt Ryan slice-jumped through the front right corner of the end zone nearly halfway through the fourth quarter. Atlanta 45 and San Francisco 10. Final score.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Goodness graceland, those 49ers looked like poles of ketchup and mustard.
2. I was cleaning out my sent emails and came across a link to college football newsreels.
3. Gasp! Upon returning from the first commercial break of the game, one of the cameras caught Falcons wide receiver Brian Finneran spitting on the sidelines.
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